Product Review: Chia Pods

Chia Pods are a breakfast (or snack) product from The Chia Co., an Australian company. They grow their own chia seeds to use in their products.

chia pods review

I was really excited to try Chia Pods because I had read that some of the flavors contain nothing but chia seeds, real fruit and coconut milk. Some of the flavors have no added sweeteners, while others are lightly sweetened with coconut palm sugar. In other words, they’re real food. And I love coconut anything, so they sounded really good.

The flavors

I saw online that our local Fresh Market carries them, so I headed over last weekend to buy some. Chia Pods come in eight flavors, but our local store had only four.  I bought the ones that sounded best to me: blueberry, mango and banana. (I didn’t buy the vanilla bean flavor.) The bummer: my local Fresh Market didn’t stock any of the flavors I most wanted to try — coffee bean, dark cacao, strawberry or lemon and date. (Yum, right?)

If I get my hands on the other flavors at some point, I’ll write another review.

The pros

The “pods” themselves are pretty cool, and they’d be perfect for taking to work or school. The lids snap on pretty tightly, and each lid has a handy orange spoon that snaps onto it for convenient snacking on the go. The containers are recyclable and contain 30 percent recycled material, according to The Chia Co.’s website.

Other pros: Chia Pods are vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO. At about 130 to 160 calories each, they’re a nutritious, filling, lo-cal breakfast or snack. In fact, I ate one to tide me  over when I was really hungry so I could fit in a bike ride before making dinner last night. It totally did the trick.

The cons

Honestly, the main con, to me, was the flavor. Chia Pods taste okay. I tried the blueberry one first — it’s one of the flavors with no added sweetener — and my reaction was “meh.” It wasn’t bad. It had a nice, substantial texture and whole blueberries in it. But the taste was sort of lackluster. I wondered if adding a little sweetener would help. So, I drizzled some local honey on top. That made it quite good. So, maybe if you don’t ever eat added sugar and your tastes lean toward the less sweet, you’d love it.

I like the mango flavor, which also has no added sugar, quite a bit better than the blueberry. It was smooth, and the mango tasted bright and fresh.

And I liked the banana, also with no added sugar, the best of the three, which surprised me. Banana is not my favorite fruit, but the banana flavor had a creamy texture and a nice natural sweetness.

Also, at $3.59 a pop for a 6 oz. container, Chia Pods are  a little pricy. Unless I fall in love with one or more of the flavors I haven’t tried, I can’t see myself spending that on a regular basis for something I don’t absolutely love. I might buy them for a road trip or some other scenario where I need something healthy, filling and convenient.

Otherwise, I’ll probably stick with making chia seed coconut pudding at home, where it’s cheaper and I can experiment with different flavors, and maybe add a little sweetener.

Though, of course, homemade chia pudding doesn’t come in a nifty pod.

Green Goodness Chia Superfood Smoothie

As part of an overall quest to get healthier, I went to a holistic doctor for the first time last week, and part of my prescription is to eat greens daily. How awesome is that?

A chia seed smoothie full of green goodness
A chia seed smoothie full of green goodness

I’m also supposed to eat vegetables from the cabbage family every day. It was pretty cool to look down at my prescription and see “brussels sprouts.” But I’m a veggie lover, and I’ve been a fan of brussels sprouts since I was a kid, so maybe I’m just weird.

Anyway, I’m trying to incorporate more greens into my smoothies, and this yummy green smoothie with green grapes, baby kale and ginger was the result this morning. It’s very good, and tastes like something you’d pay at least $5 for at a juice bar. It’s easy, and much cheaper, to make at home. So, give it a try.

Green Goodness Chia Superfood Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups green grapes
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 large handfuls of baby kale
  • 1 T extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup of chia gel plus 1/4 cup water
  • 1 T dry chia seeds
  • 1, one-inch, pinkie-finger width piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 T. honey, agave or sweetener of your choice

Instructions:

Throw all the ingredients into a Vitamix or other high-powered blender and blend on medium-high for about a minute.

Enjoy!

Your Questions: Which is Better, Black or White Chia Seeds?

Here’s one question that gets asked a lot: which is better, black or white chia seeds?

Showdown: black vs. white chia seeds -- Photo: Larry Jacobsen
Showdown: black vs. white chia seeds — Photo: Larry Jacobsen

The answer: there is not a whole lot of difference between the two, according to chia researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Arizona, Wayne Coates.

In fact, the University of Arizona did a study to try to answer that very question. The researchers examined two types of chia: Tzotzol, which has black seeds, and Iztac, which has white seeds.

Let’s break it down to compare the two colors of chia seeds:

1. Nutrition and benefits of black vs. white chia seeds

Black chia seeds and white ones have nearly identical nutritional profiles and composition, according to Coates.

In fact, the University of Arizona study found that the two types of chia seeds have pretty much the same water, oil, protein, and fiber content.

The study also showed the two types of chia have similar fatty acid content — including palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic, linolenic and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. (The researchers did find that when chia seeds vary in fatty acid content, it’s likely due to the environment where they’re grown, rather than the color of the seeds.)

Also, the black and white seeds have virtually the same amounts of antioxidants, the study found. The two seeds had similar levels of the flavonols compounds myricetin, quercetin, caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid.

These antioxidants, which occur naturally in some plants foods, have been linked to various possible health benefits, which are still being studied. For example, some studies have connected myricetin with lower rates of some types of cancer (see: sources below).

The study also discovered that both seeds contain SDG, a lignan compound, which is a phenolic compound. And phenolic compounds have been studied and shown to promote health benefits and cancer prevention, according to the study.

2. Taste of black vs. white chia seeds

They also taste pretty much the same. That’s according to Chiatrition, an Australian brand of chia seeds. I’ve also tried both types and have noticed no difference in flavor or texture between the two.

3. The appearance of black vs. white seeds

You might prefer the look of black chia seeds or white ones based on your personal preference. From my experience, white chia seeds tend to blend in more and be less visible in light-colored foods. So, for example, if you’re making vanilla or coconut or banana chia pudding, you might prefer a light colored seed so it stands out less, or you might like the look of the contrast provided by a dark colored seed. If you have picky kids, light colored seeds might look less “weird” in foods.

So, in the case of chia seeds, you can throw out the rule that says the more colorful a food is, the more nutritious it is. Black chia seeds do not have any real benefits over white ones.

Sources:

“Seed composition of two chia (Salvia hispanica L.) genotypes which differ in seed color” — R. Azeyra, 2103, Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture

“Flavonoid intake and risk of pancreatic cancer in male smokers” — Gerd Bobe et. al., 2007, Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

 

 

What Are Chia Seeds?

By now, most people have heard about the health benefits of chia seeds. But many still wonder: what are chia seeds?

In short, chia seeds are seeds that come from a plant, (scientific name: salvia hispanica L.), or chia, that is in the mint family.

"Photo from a dusty roadside in Costa Rica." -- Dick Culbert
Photo from a dusty roadside in Costa Rica.” — Dick Culbert

Chia seeds sometimes are erroneously referred to as a whole grain but they are, in fact, a seed, according to Wayne Coates, a professor and one of the top chia researchers in the country.

So, in summary, chia seeds are edible seeds that come from a plant related to mint.

So, where and how are chia seeds grown?

Chia seeds are cultivated mostly in various countries in Central and South America, including Peru and Argentina, as well as in Australia. There also are some chia seeds grown in the United States. (US Chia grows chia seeds on a farm in Kentucky.)

 What is the history of chia seeds?

Chia seeds have a long, rich history. They were prized in pre-Colombian times as an important food and source of oil. The seeds and other parts of the chia plant also were used to make medicines. With the arrival of the Spanish colonists, the use of chia declined, and the plant was all but forgotten for many years.

Historical texts show that, in pre-Colombian times, chia seeds commonly were roasted and used to make a flour called Chianpinolli. The flour was used to make tortillas and tamales. The Aztecs also used this flour to make a drinks known as Chianatoles.

Chia seeds -- Photo: Seth Anderson
Chia seeds — Photo: Seth Anderson

What are chia seeds good for?

Chia seeds have become popular in the United States and other countries for a variety of reasons. First, they’re generally considered a healthy food and a good addition to the diet. They contain large amounts of  fiber, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, according to registered dietician Angela Stanford.

And chia seeds are used in cooking in many ways. For example, they can be used as an egg substitute in baking. They’re also good for thickening soups, sauces, gravy and fruit smoothies. Here is a guide to how to eat chia seeds.

Chia seeds are classified as a food by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, rather than as a drug or supplement, but research has shown benefits for certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

How else is chia used?

chia seed history

In Mexico and Central America, chia seeds are used to make medicinal infusions. Though there is no scientific proof to back up these uses, the chia plant (including the seeds, leaves and roots) has been used throughout history as a folk remedy for conditions such as fever, infections, stomach problems, eye issues and overall health.

In Mexico, after the year 1600, chia fresca or “agua de chia” became popular as a refreshing beverage. The drink contains chia seeds, lemon or lime juice and sugar, and it’s made in homes and sold by street vendors. Recently, this drink has become popular in the United States as well.

In modern times, chia also is used in beauty products for the skin and hair. It’s extremely versatile, it has many uses, and it’s becoming more and more mainstream.

Sources:

USDA plant taxonomy

National Institutes of Health chia seeds paper, “The Promising Future of Chia”

Ethnobotany of chia, salva hispanica L.” — Joseph Cahill

Mix-and-Match Chia Mash Breakfast

I had some leftover chia coconut pudding (made simply by soaking chia seeds in some leftover coconut milk and adding maple syrup to taste.) Also, I needed breakfast quick.

Make this chia seed breakfast in 5 minutes
Make this chia seed breakfast in 5 minutes

I made up this breakfast mash bowl on the fly, and it is super fast to put together (if you have the chia pudding made already), so good for busy mornings.

The cool thing is you can use any combo of pudding flavor, fruit and topping to make whatever kind of bowl you desire. Hence, the mix-and-match name.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup dry oats (use gluten-free oats to make this a gluten-free recipe)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (or soy, rice, dairy, or any milk you choose)
  • Half a banana
  • Chia pudding of your choice (I used coconut)
  • Any fruit (I used frozen mango chunks)
  • Dried unsweetened coconut (or any kind of chopped nuts or seeds)
  • Maple syrup (or honey, or any sweetener you like)

Here’s what to do:

Put the oats in a bowl and mash in the half banana with a fork. Pour the milk on top, stir, and let it sit for five minutes. Top with the chia pudding, fruit, topping and sweetener of your choice.

Here are a few combo ideas:

  • Coconut chia pudding, mango, coconut
  • Chocolate chia pudding, raspberries, coconut
  • Strawberry chia pudding, strawberries, coconut
  • Chocolate chia pudding, cherries, walnuts
  • Coconut chia pudding, kiwi, almonds
  • Raw apples, dried apples, walnuts & cinnamon

You could really mix this up even more, using quinoa or rice as a base instead of oats, and throwing in many different combos of fruit (or dried fruit) and seeds. You could add raisins, dried apricots, dried apples, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, anything you want. It truly is made for mixing and matching with whatever you have in your kitchen.

If you discover a favorite combo, please comment & share. Thanks!

 

Cold Coconut Corn Chia Seed Soup

I’ve been wanting to make cold chia seed soup with chia seeds that have soaked overnight in my homemade veggie broth.

cold chia seed soupTonight, I made a delicious, cooling soup with corn, avocado, red pepper, cucumber and cilantro. Even though September is here, the weather was sultry hot and humid today, so this soup made a perfect end-of-summer evening meal. I served it with cubed tofu, pan fried, finished with soy sauce.

I’ll definitely be making this soup again, and I plan to experiment with many more cold chia seed soups. The chia seeds work very well in chilly soup. They thicken the soup while keeping the texture nice, cool and light.

Here’s the recipe:

Cold Coconut Corn Chia Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups oil-free vegetable broth*
  • 3 T chia seeds

The broth and chia seeds will be mixed to create a chia broth gel that must be made the night before you want to make the soup (see below.)

You also need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • Two ears yellow sweet corn, kernels sliced off
  • One red pepper, thinly sliced, with slices cut in half
  • Juice of one lime
  • 5 T chopped cilantro
  • A squirt of sriracha sauce
  • Sea salt to taste

*It’s important to use oil-free broth for a cold soup so the oil doesn’t congeal. I made my own broth by filling a large pot with water and adding 3 carrots, 5 celery stalks, two onions, a few peppercorns, a shake of thyme and some sea salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes. Cool for an hour before adding chia seeds.

To make the chia broth gel:

Put 3 c warm broth in a Ball jar with a lid. Add 3 to 4 T chia seeds. Shake very well. Keep shaking every few minutes until the seeds begin to turn into a gel. Put the jar in the fridge overnight, shaking it again whenever you get a chance.

To make the soup:

The next day, after the broth is cold and the chia seeds have become gelatinous, put the chia  broth gel into a large bowl. Whisk in the coconut milk and lime juice and salt to taste. Add sriracha sauce to taste.

Gently stir in the cucumber, red pepper, corn and avocado. Top with cilantro.

Enjoy.

 

How to Make DIY Chia Seed Juice

Chia seed juices for sale in stores can get pretty pricy. And making chia juice yourself is so easy. It takes just a few minutes of mixing, then you stick it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

Chia Juice

Voila! Chia juice.

There are two ways to make chia juice. This first is a little more time consuming: it involves making your own fruit or vegetable juice in a juicer, then adding the chia seeds.

However, I don’t have a juicer at the moment (I hope to get one soon) so I use the ridiculously easy method: buy a good, natural 100 percent juice at the store and add chia seeds.

Here’s my recipe:

Homemade chia seed juice

  • 3 cups juice of your choice
  • 3 T chia seeds (black or white — your choice)
  • A Ball jar with a lid or drink shaker

Just pour the juice into the jar, add the chia seeds and shake hard for about a minute. Let the jar sit on the counter, coming back to shake it again every couple of minutes.

After about 15 minutes, put the jar in the refrigerator and let it sit for at least several hours. I like to let it sit overnight to make sure the chia seeds have absorbed as much liquid as they can.

Pour the juice into a glass or sport bottle, or just chug it out of the jar. That’s it.

So, now you’ll never have to pay almost $4 for a chia juice again, unless you want to.

So, what juices should you use for your chia juice? I made a delicious chia juice a few days ago using blueberry blackberry acai juice.

There are lots of other juices and juice combos that make great chia seed juice. Here are a few of my favorites:

R.W. Knudsen juices I like with chia seeds:

  • Cherry Cider
  • Kiwi Strawberry
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Mango Peach
  • Razzleberry
  • Spiced Pear

Northland juices that work well for making chia juice:

  • Blueberry Blackberry Acai
  • Raspberry Pomegranate Goji
  • Berry Berry Maqui
  • Purple Power

So, try one of the above juices or use any juice you like. If you make your own juices, you have even more possibilities. Try a watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew chia juice. Or make your favorite combo: I think a lemon ginger orange apple juice would be great with chia seeds added. Or, add some chia seeds to a green juice to make a seriously nutritious beverage.

One other tip: if you save your bottles and lids from iced tea or bottled water, you can make chia juice in single serving bottles. Just fill each bottle almost full with juice and add one to two tablespoons of chia seeds. Then they’re ready to grab in single serving form whenever you’re heading out the door.

Do you have a favorite flavor of chia juice to make? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

Cold Oatmeal Parfait with Blueberry Chia Gel

I’m starting a gluten-free diet this week to see if I can get rid of headaches I’ve had my entire adult life, and also possibly address a few other health issues.

Breakfast in a jar
Breakfast in a jar

This is totally new to me, so I spent quite a bit of time doing research and reading labels in the grocery store. I’ve heard gluten is very sneaky and hides in a lot of places you might not expect it. I bought gluten-free soy sauce and also certified gluten-free rolled oats from Bob’s Red Mill. My grocery store has a pretty good gluten-free section, and it was interesting to see all the stuff that’s available.

I’m keeping it healthy this week since health is my reason for doing this, so I didn’t pounce on the gluten-free cookies, though they looked good. I’ve always loved cold oatmeal with chia seeds, so I decided my first gluten-free recipe would be a pretty oatmeal breakfast parfait using the blueberry chia seed gel I made the other day.

Cold breakfast oatmeal is super easy to make and very tasty. Here’s a recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to put together. Yum.

This recipe serves two. You can just double or triple it to make additional servings.

*It’s a good idea to make the blueberry gel a day ahead of time so it’s ready for this recipe. To make blueberry chia gel, put three cups of natural blueberry juice (I used Northland Superfruits Blueberry Blackberry Acai juice) in a ball jar. Add 3 T chia seeds and shake well. Continue to shake every few minutes to keep the seeds from clumping. In about 15 minutes, put the gel in the fridge. Give it another good shake whenever you open the fridge. Let it sit overnight until it forms a gel with chia seeds suspended in it. Done.

Cold Oatmeal Parfait with Blueberry Chia Gel

  • 1 cup rolled oats (use gluten-free oats to make this recipe gluten free)
  • 1.5 cups Silk Original Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 cup blueberry chia gel*
  • 2 T pure maple syrup
  • A few drops pure, natural vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries
  • 2 small ball jars with lids

To make:

  1. Mix the oats and the almond milk together in a glass mixing cup with a spout. Add three to four drops of vanilla extract and mix.
  2. Mix the maple syrup with the blueberry chia gel.
  3. Pour a quarter of the oat mixture into each jar.
  4. Pour a quarter of the blueberry chia gel into each jar on top of the oats.
  5. Divide the rest of the oat mixture between the two jars.
  6. Divide the rest of the blueberry chia gel between the two jars.
  7. Put 1/2 cup of blueberries on top of each parfait.
  8. Put the lids on and put the jars in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, take the jars out of the fridge and enjoy!

How to Eat Chia Seeds: the Ultimate Guide +101 Ways

You know chia seeds are a superfood, and they’re good for you. But now you need to know: how do you eat chia seeds? Answer: the possibilities are endless.

How to eat chia seeds? Let's count the ways.
How to eat chia seeds? Let’s count the ways.

So, first, let’s take a look at the basic ways to eat chia seeds, then see how you can mix it up a little and put preparing chia seeds into practice in your kitchen and your life.

What you don’t need to do to chia seeds

But first, a quick tip. A lot of people wonder if they need to grind chia seeds before using them. The short answer: no. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds do not need to be ground  in order for you to get the nutritional benefits, according to Lindsey Duncan, a naturopathic doctor writing on DrOz.com. However, you can grind them if you choose.

Basic ways to eat chia seeds

Here are the 6 general ways to eat chia seeds:

  • Soak the seeds overnight in water or juice and drink them. If you consume chia seeds this way, they get gelatinous and add an interesting texture to the drink. If you have issues with weird textures in food, you might want to eat your chia seeds some other way.
  • Make chia gel, which is quite a bit thicker than chia water, and eat it straight or add it to drinks, smoothies or cold soups. Chia gel keeps in the refrigerator for a week or longer.
  • Throw raw seeds whole or ground into a smoothie, or other drink, or even a soup. Blend, then eat or drink. This way, you incorporate the seeds so you don’t even taste them. They are a natural thickener, though, so they’ll make your food a little thicker.
  • Sprinkle them whole onto your food. If you eat chia seeds this way, use a smaller amount (say half a teaspoon vs. the one or two tablespoons you might blend into a smoothie or soak in a glass of water.) And, make sure to drink  plenty of water with your meal. The reason? Chia seeds absorb water and expand. If they don’t have water to take in, they can leach it from your body, resulting in a wicked stomach ache.
  • Bake them or cook them into bread or other deliciously carb-y foods.
  • Use them as a thickener. You can throw chia seeds into soups, gravy, other sauces, pudding or homemade jams or jellies as a healthy thickener. You can then eat your creation or use it in another recipe.

So, those are the basic ways to eat chia seeds. However, there are almost limitless variations.  Here are 30 twists on the basics to give you more ideas for eating chia seeds. You can make:

Chia drinks

1.Chia water. This is probably the easiest, simplest way to use chia seeds. It’s good for cooling off and staying hydrated.

2. A chia fresca. This is a traditional energy drink that’s common in Mexico and is great for hot weather. YumUniverse.com has a recipe.

3. A chia smoothie. The variations are endless. Seek out a chia smoothie recipe or just throw a tablespoon or two of seeds into your favorite smoothie.

4. Chia juice. It’s easy to make chia juice. All you need is a juice (store bought or homemade), chia seeds and a bottle or jar or drink shaker.

5. Chia tea. Mix flavored chia gel with iced black, green or white tea.

6. Chia hot chocolate. SavoringEveryBite.com has a recipe.

7.  A chia seed cocktail. Chilled Magazine offers a recipe for a strawberry basil chia mojito.

8. A frosty, like this “seeded” watermelon frosty.

9. A milkshake. Throw a teaspoon of chia seeds into your favorite milkshake recipe, or try this chocolate pistachio shake.

Chia gel

10. You can make basic chia gel by mixing chia seeds and water. (Ratio: about 1 tablespoon per cup of liquid. Adjust if you want the gel to be thicker or thinner.)

11. Or, make a flavored chia gel by using juice instead of water.

12. Or make chia broth gel. Just use veggie broth instead of water to make a chia gel, and it’s ready to add to any savory dish, like gravy or soup.

 Chia breakfast

13. Make a chia breakfast bowl. This is pretty easy: put any raw fruit you like, or a combo, into a bowl. (Ideas: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, apples.) Sprinkle a half teaspoon to one teaspoon of chia seeds on top. Add the milk of your choice (almond milk is especially good.)Mix. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Top with chopped nuts or seeds (walnuts, pumpkin seeds) and any other topping you like (such as dried, unsweetened coconut.) Eat.

14. Chia oatmeal. Sprinkle chia seeds into your oatmeal or other hot cereal in the last few minutes of cooking. Add fruit and a splash of almond (or other) milk.

15. Chia seeds on cold cereal. Sprinkle a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of chia seeds on your cold cereal. Top with soy milk or other milk of your choice.

16. Chia yogurt. Stir a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of chia seeds into your favorite yogurt. Bonus: top with fresh fruit.

17. Summer oatmeal. Chia seeds act as a thickener in cold oatmeal recipes. TheYummyLife.com has recipes for six different flavors.

18. Top a banana with peanut butter or tahini. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. chia seeds, 1/4 tsp. hemp seeds 1 T. sunflower seeds on top.

19. Mix 1/4 tsp chia seeds with 1 T. nut butter of your choice and spread on toast. Top with banana slices and a drizzle of honey.

20. Throw half a teaspoon of chia seeds into a scrambled egg, and let sit 10 minutes before cooking.

21. Make a chia omelette. Do like you would for chia scrambled eggs, but make an omelette instead. Suggestion: roasted asparagus, garlic and gruyere.

22. Chia breakfast casserole. Add chia to any breakfast casserole. Or, try this apple chia breakfast casserole.

23. Chia sweet breakfast burritos. Take a whole wheat tortilla and load it with the fresh fruit of your choice (good ones: strawberries and blueberries or pineapple) and top with coconut yogurt and sprinkle on 1/4 tsp. chia seeds and a drizzle of maple syrup. Roll and eat.

24. Savory chia breakfast burritos. Mix 1/2 tsp. chia seeds with 1/2 cup refried beans and let it sit for half an hour. Spread onto two whole wheat tortillas. Add toppings of your choice (scrambled tofu or eggs, veggies, cheese, salsa.)

25. Mash 1/4 tsp. chia seeds with half an avocado and a squeeze of lemon juice. Put on a bagel or sprouted whole grain toast. Sprinkle with sea salt (or ghost pepper salt if you like it spicy.)

26. Mix half tsp. chia seeds with 3 T. cream cheese. Let it sit for half an hour or overnight. Spread on a garlic or everything bagel.

27. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp chia seeds on a soft cooked egg on rye toast.

28. Spread chia seed jelly on toast.

29. Bake a sweet potato. Mash 1/2 tsp. chia seeds into a small banana. Cut the sweet potato in half and mash the chia banana mixture in. Drizzle with maple syrup. Add a dash of cinnamon.

30. Add half a teaspoon chia seeds to potato pancake batter. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Fry the potato pancakes and serve with apple sauce.

31. Make chia seed pancakes.

Chia pudding

32. Chia breakfast pudding. Whole Foods has a recipe with non-dairy milk, figs or dates and coconut.

33. Chia pudding for dessert. Make a chocolate chia pudding topped with raspberries for a decadent-tasting finish to a healthy meal.

34. Chia pudding parfait. Layer chia pudding in glasses with fruit, whipped cream and granola.

35. Throw ground up chia seeds into a sticky rice pudding to thicken. Serve with mango or other fruit.

36. Use coconut chia pudding in a graham cracker crust for a no-bake pie. Top with fresh berries.

Chia dip or spread

37. Add 1/2 tsp chia seeds to 1 cup of refried beans. Add a tsp. of vinegar and 1 tsp. hot sauce to make a spread for rice cakes or toast, or a dip for chips.

38. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to any store-bought or homemade dip to make it more nutritious.

39. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to your favorite hummus recipe.

40. Make a yogurt dip for fruit by adding 1 tsp. chia seeds plus 2 tsp. maple syrup to one container of vanilla or strawberry yogurt (soy or dairy).

41. Add 1 tsp. of chia seeds to  your favorite spinach dip recipe.

42. Sprinkle 1 tsp. chia seeds into caramel dip for apples.

43. Add 1 tsp. of chia seeds to a tub of spreadable cream cheese. Add 2 T. chopped Italian parsley, 1 tsp. lemon juice and 3 T. minced green olives. Spread on crackers and top with cucumber slices.

44. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to a jar of store bought jam or jelly. Mix well and return to the jar.

45. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to a tub of homemade or store bought apple butter.

Chia soup

46. Throw 1 to 4 T. ground or whole chia seeds into a pot of your favorite hot soup to turn it into a stew. Add 15 minutes before the end of cooking.

47. Make a cold chia soup for summertime. You can whisk chia seeds into any cold soup to thicken and add an interesting texture. Or make chia gel using broth (see above) and use that as the base for a cold soup, adding coconut milk, diced cucumber, diced tomato, fresh corn and cilantro.

48. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to a can of store bought soup to make it a little bit healthier.

49. Add 2 tsp. whole or ground chia seed to any creamy soup recipe. If you have a Vitamix, you can make warm soup right in your blender.

50. Use homemade chia juice as the base for a cold fruit soup. Just pour 1/2 cup chia juice in a bowl, add fresh fruit and drizzle with coconut milk. (Example: use blueberry chia juice and fresh blueberries. Optional: add 1 tsp. chopped fresh basil or mint.)

Chia salad

51. Make a chia fruit salad by cutting up seasonal fruits, adding a teaspoon of chia seeds, a few tablespoons of soy or other yogurt and topping with dried, shredded coconut and a drizzle of honey.

52. Chia potato salad. Add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of chia seeds to your favorite potato salad recipe. Let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

53. Salad topping. Throw a half teaspoon of chia seeds on top of any salad for a little crunch and a nutritional boost.

54. Chia slaw. Add a mix of chia seeds, hemp seeds and sunflower seeds to red or green cabbage slaw, or carrot slaw.

55. Chia cucumber salad. Cut up a cucumber. Mix 1 tsp. of chia seeds with 3 T yogurt or sour cream and 2 tsp. lemon or lime juice. Add sea salt and 1 T. chopped cilantro or parsley.

56. Pasta salad. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of chia on top of any pasta salad for a healthy crunch.

Chia sandwiches

57. Add 1tsp. chia seeds to any egg salad recipe.

58. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to your favorite tuna salad recipe.

59. Add 1/2 tsp. of ground chia seeds to 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Whisk, and let sit until it thickens. Drizzle on an Italian sub. The chia seeds help  thicken the dressing to prevent it from drizzling out.

60. Use 1/2 tsp. of chia seeds in any veggie burger recipe.

Chia snacks

61. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. chia on top of celery stuffed with nut butter or cream cheese.

62. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to your favorite trail mix recipe.

63. Add 1/tsp chia seeds to your popcorn.

64. Make chia crackers. Nyoutritious.com has a recipe.

65. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. on top of homemade kale chips.

Chia dinners

66. You can use chia to make a crust for tofu or fish. Alive.com has a recipe for chia-crusted tofu with lime salt.

67. You can add 2 tsp. of ground chia seeds to any meatball recipe, including veggie meatballs. Serve in spaghetti or on a sub.

68. Do the same in any meatloaf — meat, bean or veggie.

69. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp chia seeds on top of pasta primavera.

70. Add 2 tsp. whole or ground chia seeds to any pasta sauce during cooking.

71. Add 1 tsp. round chia seeds to any breading for fish, chicken or tofu.

72. Put 1/2 tsp chia seeds on top of a baked potato with your favorite topping. (Example: broccoli with cashew cheeze sauce or hummus with salsa.)

73. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to any curry recipe (potato curry, red lentil curry, vegetable curry.)

74. Toss 1 tsp. chia seeds into a stirfry five minutes before it’s done.

75. Stir 1/2 to 1 tsp. ground chia into the stuffing for stuffed mushroom caps or stuffed zucchini.

76. Add 1 to 3 T chia seeds to a big pot of chili to make it extra thick and hearty.

77. Use chia seeds to make a gluten-free pizza crust. Check out this pizza recipe from GlutenFreeGirl.com.

78. Add chia seeds to a dinner frittata.

79. Make chia sushi rolls.

80. Add chia seeds to packaged or homemade falafel (add a little extra liquid too) and serve in a sandwich or on a salad.

82. Add 1/2 tsp. chia seeds to couscous at the same time you add the couscous to the boiling water.

83. Toss 1 tsp. chia seeds with 1.5 cups red quinoa cooked in broth. Add 1/4 cup chopped green olives and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese (dairy or vegan.)

84. Make a chia dinner bowl. Start with a base of a warm grain (brown rice or any other whole grain) mixed with 1/2 tsp. chia seeds. Add veggies of your choice and top with sauce of your choice (for example, yogurt cucumber sauce or salsa.)

85. Throw 1 tsp. chia seeds into the rice cooker while your rice cooks.

Chia gravy

86. Use chia seeds in place of cornstarch or other thickeners to add body to your favorite gravy. To do this, whisk in a tablespoon of ground (or whole) chia seeds. If you desire a thicker gravy, add more, little by little.

87. Make chia mushroom gravy.

Chia jam or jelly

88. Make homemade chia jelly for PB&J sandwiches.

89. Make chia freezer jam. AllRecipes.com has a recipe that uses four types of berries. Yum.

 Chia desserts

90. Use ground chia seeds mixed with water as an egg replacer in baking.

91. Make chia seed banana bread. Essential Wellness has a recipe.

92. Chia energy bars. Add 1 T. chia seeds to any recipe.

93. Add 1 tsp. chia seeds to any homemade ice cream recipe.

94. Make chia seed brownies.

95. Use chia seed jelly or jam in any fruit oat bar recipe.

96. Use chia seeds as a thickener in pie filling. Us in place of another thickener or throw in 1 tsp. of chia seeds.

97. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. chia seeds on top of any fresh fruit topped with whipped cream.

98. Make chocolate chia seed bark. try this recipe from YouBeauty.com

99. Stir 1 tsp. chia seeds into 1 cup of applesauce and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Serve topped with minced apples, chopped walnuts, a drizzle of maple syrup and cinnamon.

100. Add 2 tsp. chia seeds to coconut frosting for cupcakes or cake.

101. Make dessert balls. Here’s a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie.

So,there are 101 ways to eat chia seeds. For more ideas, check out our recipes. Happy chia eating!

 

The #1 Easiest Way to “Eat” Chia Seeds: in Water

Chia seed water is a delicious, easy-to-make and extremely hydrating drink. There are plenty of fun variations on chia water too, such as making flavored chia water or coconut chia water.

Chia seed water Photo: Janine
Chia seed water
Photo: Janine

You should put your chia seeds in the water a day ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge overnight for best results.

How to make chia water

It couldn’t be any easier to make this super healthy beverage. Here’s a a simple chia water recipe:

  • 3 cups filtered water*
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • A Ball jar with a lid or a beverage shaker

*Natural-Healthy-Eating.com recommends using water that has been filtered by reverse osmosis for maximum water absorption by the chia seeds. But I use regular filtered water from my fridge, and it works pretty well.

To make the water:

Put the filtered water in your jar or beverage shaker. Add the chia seeds. Close the jar and shake vigorously for about a minute. Let the jar sit, coming back every few minutes to shake until the water begins to thicken.  (It usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.)

Put the jar of chia seed water in the fridge and let it sit for several hours or, better yet, overnight. By letting the water sit for a while, you give the chia seeds a chance to soak up the water and expand as much as they’re going to. Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they’re like tiny sponges. They absorb 10 times their weight in water, and then they become gelatinous.

Once the chia water is ready, give it another good shake. Pour it into a glass, or a sports bottle — or drink straight from the jar.

Chia water with a twist: yummy variations 

You can jazz up plain old chia water with flavors, additions and garnishes.

My favorite twist is to use all-natural, unsweetened flavored water in place of regular water. I love Ayala’s Herbal Water. My favorite flavors are lavender mint, ginger lemon peel and lemongrass mint vanilla. Hint also makes a nice healthy flavored water.

Or, to save money, you can easily make DIY infused water by filling a pitcher with water and adding a fruit, vegetable or herb for a couple of hours, then removing the fruit or veggie after the water has absorbed the taste. Here are a few ideas for how to flavor your water:

  • Make cucumber mint water: add half a cucumber peeled and sliced plus one sprig of mint.
  • Make orange clove water: add a few orange slices and two or three whole cloves.
  • Make grapefruit lavender water: add half a grapefruit, sliced, plus one sprig of fresh culinary lavender. (I recommend doing this only if you grow your own lavender, so you can make sure it’s not treated with any pesticides.)
  • Make lemon water: add one lemon, sliced.

Another variation is to use coconut water. You can buy plain or flavored coconut water. (The one I like best: guava.) Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and potassium, so combining it with chia seeds is doubly nourishing for you on a super hot day or before or after a workout.

Flavored chia water recipe

To make flavored chia water, just use the above recipe for basic chia water, substituting the flavored water for the plain filtered water. If you really want to get gourmet, throw in a few fresh blueberries or raspberries, or squeeze in some citrus juice (lemon, lime or orange) or add a garnish that works well with the flavor — for example, a stalk of lemongrass or a few curls of lemon zest.

The benefits of chia water

Chia seed water has several benefits. Here are two:

1. It’s a quick, easy way to get chia seeds in your diet. In water, they go down easily.

2. It can help you stay hydrated. According to the fitness site BreakingMuscle.com, downing chia seeds in water is a good way to keep your body hydrated for a longer period of time, and to get an energy boost. For that reason, chia water is especially good to sip before a run, or to tote with you to the gym or yoga class.

No matter how you slice it, chia seeds and water are a winning combination. Cheers!